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Lebanese Marinated Olives

Lebanese Marinated Olives

I grew up with marinated olives, salt, pepper and olive oil as the centerpiece of my Aunt Izzy’s table. They sat collected on a brass tray in the middle of our daily family dinners. The olives would find their way on to almost every plate no matter the meal. They tasted magical. Way better than marinated olives from your grocery store bar. Little did I know they were so easy to make.

Olives, garlic, lemon and thyme

The recipe is so simple, you only need five ingredients: olives, EVOO, garlic, thyme and lemons.

Sliced Lemon

First, slice your lemon thin. Try to slice evenly so you will have pretty, circular slices in your jar. Peel and trim the ends off your garlic.

Layered Marinated Olives

In an empty glass jar, put one slice of lemon at the bottom of the jar. Put lemon slices around the bottom edge, standing up on the side. You can put as many as you want. I like it a little more lemon-y, so I put as many as I can fit and it still look good.

Layered Marinated Olives

I mix the olives and garlic in a bowl, and then add them to the glass jar after the lemons. The olives and garlic help hold up the lemons. Stop adding the olives about half way up the jar. Once the olives are in, add the sprigs of thyme around the edge.  Add another slice of lemon in the middle and some slices around the edge.

Lebanese Marinated Olives

Then, add EVOO all the way up to the top, and you are done! It is that easy. You can imagine that after about a week of marinating, they are even more delicious, so try not to gobble ’em all right away. Let them marinate for at least two days.

Not only are you marinating the olives, but you are making a delicious, flavored olive oil to use in salads or cooking once all the olives are gone.



• Kalamata olives with pits (un-marinated and as many to fill your jar)

• 5-10 peeled cloves of garlic (add garlic to your heart’s content)

• 10 sprigs of fresh thyme

• One lemon

• Extra virgin olive oil



Slice lemon thinly in circles. Peel and trim garlic and mix with olives in a bowl. Place lemon circles at bottom and around the edge of the glass jar. Fill the jar half way with the olive and garlic clove mixture. The garlic and olives will hold the lemons up to the side of the jar. Add the sprigs of thyme around the edge of the jar, pushing the base of the stem to the bottom of the jar. Add a lemon to the top of the olive and garlic clove mixture and around the sides of the jar. Pour the rest of the mixture into the jar and top off with other lemon. Cover completely with extra virgin olive oil.

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